The Other Side of Freedom
Publisher: Write Integrity Press
Publication Date: October 9, 2017
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When the reward is the most costly sacrifice of all ...
In a southern farming community in 1925, thirteen-year-old Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend. Will Sal keep the secrets about that night as his father asks, or risk everything he and his family cherish in their new homeland, including their lives?
Amidst bigotry, bootlegging, police corruption, and gangland threats, Sal must discover whom he can trust in order to protect himself and his family and win back his father's freedom. Sal's family, their African-American farmhand, and the girl who is Sal's best friend find their lives forever changed as dreams are shattered and attitudes challenged in a small community called Freedom.
"... a truly compelling coming-of-age story. The setting was beautifully described ... one felt oneself being drawn back to the era of gangsters, the G-Men, and bootlegging across the south. The feel of the story was authentic ..." - Readers' Favorite, 5-star review
"Young adults will love this novel full of adventure and risk ... about a difficult period of American history when one law had such violent and negative consequences for innocent Italian-American families." - Historical Novel Society
Cynthia is a former advertising designer, marketing director, and interior decorator who holds a BA in art education with a minor in history. She writes for preteens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable they are. At other jobs, she had trouble following directions and keeping her foot out of her mouth. While employed by a large daily newspaper, she rewrote some ad copy without permission and got reprimanded for it. At that point, she knew she was destined to become an author. It's probably best that she is now self-employed. In her spare time, when she's not cooking Cajun or Italian food, Cynthia grows herbs and makes silk accent pillows. If you make her angry, she will throw one at you. A pillow, not an herb. Well, maybe both.
As a fan of historical fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia Toney. This story, set in the 1920s, has so many historical and time-period details, from the 1924 Ford Model T Tudor to the mention of Al Capone and the first black man elected to the US Senate. The tension begins in the first scene when Sal finds well-dressed strangers at the door. And the tension mounts from there with an attempted bank robbery, a death, sneaking and spying, and a lot of tough choices and obstacles for thirteen-year-old Sal. Toney’s attention to descriptive and sensory details makes this story even stronger.
This coming-of-age story about Sal, who belongs to a tight-knit Italian family, helps readers to understand the difficulties of farm life during this time period, the ugliness of segregation, and the courage of the immigrant. It also brings out a strong message of courage and self-sacrifice. I highly recommend this book.